This is great information from Margaret Woda of Crofton, Maryland. Margaret shares why Real Estate Agents ARE NOT ALLOWED BY LAW to disclose certain information to you as a buyer.
It is really important for buyers to do their own research on neighborhood, schools and crime. This is the age of the internet. It is easier than ever to find out information with a few clicks of the mouse!
Go to the neighbohoods at night and on the weekends, check things out for yourself! Do your due diligence and understand that the agent is doing his or her job, but you have to do yours!
If you are working with an agent who is disclosing the types of information below, beware. They may not be following the other Realtor (R) standards of ethics either, If you are looking in the Crofton, Maryland area (and beyond), call Margaret! If you are in need of a referral to a great agent like Margaret who holds herself to the highest of standards let me know. When you want to talk about financing that new property, call me at 410-960-2061.
What real estate agents won't tell you (and why)
It's not what you think!
Home buyers and sellers may sometimes feel that real estate agents or brokers don't answer their perfectly reasonable questions and concerns. They're totally justified for feeling this way because, frankly, it's true.
It's no secret, however, why real estate agents and brokers aren't always forthcoming with information sought by consumers, even when this information is critical to the decision process of their clients or customers.
Licensed agents are sometimes muzzled by federal, state, and local laws that were created by well-meaning public officials for the purpose of protecting consumers. The unintended consequences may, in some cases, leave consumers feeling that real estate agents are ignorant, lazy, uncaring, or all of the above.
In fact, they're simply following the law.
Take a look at these ten things real estate agents won't tell you:
1. I won't answer your questions about other people. Not the race, color, national origin, religion, familiar status, disability, age, or sexual orientation of neighbors or other principals in the transaction. This would violate federal, state, or local fair housing laws. Some demographic information is published on the U.S. Census Bureau website, and that may be a good resource for you.
2. I won't discuss my clients with you. Not their motivation, urgency for buying or selling, financial situation, or willingness to negotiate. Maryland Agency Law requires me to "maintain the confidentiality of clients." (Agency Law may be different in other jurisdictions.)
3. I won't disclose my client's opinion of your home because it may violate my obligation under Maryland Agency Law regarding confidentiality. If you or your agent request feedback, however, I will seek permission from my clients to share their opinion of your property with your listing agent, and follow the instructions of my client.
4. I won't offer my opinion on legal, tax, or structural matters because I'm licensed as a Maryland real estate agent or broker, NOT an attorney, accountant, or property inspector. If requested, I will provide you with contact information for licensed attorneys, accountants, or home inspectors that have earned rave reviews from my past clients.
5. I won't answer your questions about real estate in another state because I'm licensed only in Maryland. I will, however, refer you to an agent in that state who can help you.
6. I won't discuss your property or its value if I have a present or contemplated interest, unless this interest is specifically disclosed to all affected parties.
7. I won't disclose details about the property condition of my listing if the seller opts to disclaim, which is the seller's right under Maryland law. If there are any "material defects," however, my client and I are required to disclose them - even when the seller opts to disclaim general information. (Disclosure laws may be different in other jurisdictions.)
8. I won't answer your questions about neighborhood safety because my response may be interpreted as "steering" you toward or away from a neighborhood, which violates Fair Housing Laws. I can refer you to online resources for information on this topic.
9. I won't discuss local schools with you for two reasons: 1) Anything I say may inadvertently violate Fair Housing Laws and 2) Information about school boundaries, policies, or programs may change without notice. My website does include links to several sources for factual information about Maryland schools, including public, private, and parochial schools, daycare centers, and local colleges and universities.
10. I won't tell you the contract price for a listing that is "under contract," but not yet settled. In addition to my obligation to maintain the seller's confidentiality, there is another very practical reason: If the contract fails to close, public knowledge of the previous contract terms could negatively impact my client in future negotiations.
If you feel that your agent is giving you a runaround, don't be too quick to judge. Tell the agent how you feel and ask WHY he or she won't tell you what you want to know.
The REALTOR® Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
In addition to federal, state, and local laws, REALTORS® are obligated to abide by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, which prescribe their duties to clients and customers, the public, and other REALTORS®. This trademarked term does not apply to all licensed real estate agents and brokers - ONLY to members of the National Association of REALTORS®. In the event there's any "gray" area in the law about what agents may or may not say, it's probably well-defined in the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
Please view the articles and standards of practice in the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice (click here) for more information.
Margaret Woda, Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Military Residential Specialist (MilRES®)
(410) 451-6245 firstname.lastname@example.org
Search for homes and explore the pages of MargaretWoda.com at your own pace and convenience for more information about homes, communities, and the home buying or selling process in Maryland.
Information contained in this blog post is reliable on the date of publication, but it is subject to change without notice.
If you are considering purchasing a home in Maryland and want to be sure you are mortgage ready, my brother Tony and I will be happy to help! We help to make the mortgage process a pleasure!
If you already own your home, we are happy to provide a no-cost mortgage review to help you to determine if refinancing may be in your best interest. Please contact me at 410-960-2061.